Successful Letting them Grow stories???

MNElkNut

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Joined
Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,387
Location
Minnesota
Passed on a whitetail, a nice 5x5 with great eye guards (8”) on our farm. Next year my 12 year old son shot him. Beautiful buck. 140-something with really cool character. Couldn’t have been happier.

But we have had bucks get shot and just plain disappear too.
 

Cornell Cowboy

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Apr 5, 2019
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227
Location
Laramie, WY
Public land…. That is the big problem. Totally vulnerable to hunters and hunting pressure. That is a massive concern.
Then to me, it's a no-brainer. Passing him up probably won't let him grow. Unless to have a decent amount of control over what gets shot and what doesn't for the bulk of the buck's habitat, I think you're just passing him up for the next guy to shoot.
 

tzone

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Joined
Aug 6, 2018
Messages
1,114
Location
MN for now
We hunt public land in northern WI that gets moderate hunting pressure. But I think we are about the only stand sitters in the area. Almost everyone else does drives. We don't get a lot of deer in the area to make it past 3.5 years old. Hell, most don't make it to 2.5.

That said, I run 4-6 cameras over a few mile radius and usually have one deer that is 4.5 or older every year. But they only show up for the rut and then disappear again. With one exception. We have a 7pt (4x3) that has to be at least 7 years old at this point. He's on the downhill slide but he's an awesome deer. Heavy beams and tall, tall, tall. Probably only 12-14" wide. I don't think I could shoot him now if I saw him. He's an old warrior that should go out on his terms at this point.
 

Chad Gus

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Joined
Mar 18, 2013
Messages
897
Location
Clark County WI
We don't get to many bucks to 5.5 years old around here, but we do get a few. This is the buck i was hunting this year on our farm, he's 6.5 and it's a borderline miracle to get to that age here. Been watching him and giving him a pass since he was 3.5, hoping and praying he would navigate the pumpkin patch and he somehow did. This year i decided to go all in on him, opening day he was at my little waterhole at last light, i was at a wedding. Went in the next day, he never showed, two weeks later he showed up on a small secluded food plot, at last light, i was at a wedding, again. The next day i slipped into my ground blind i had setup a week prior, this time he showed up, but i made a bad shot and never found him. Been two months since that day and there have been zero sightings or trail cam pics of him since, by me or any of the neighbors i talk to.
Him from 3.5 to 6.5.
20221130_220139.jpg Screenshot_20221130-215918_Instagram.jpg Screenshot_20221130-220050_Instagram.jpg Screenshot_20221130-220116_Instagram.jpg
 

bigsky2

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Joined
Feb 17, 2016
Messages
740
Location
MONTANA
Some of the epic fails.
Passed on a 6 by 5 typical frame with big kickers on the back of the G2's and a Droptine. Was a great buck and not that old, four maybe five at the most. That was Thanksgiving day and with four days left I figured his chances were good. I was wrong, outfitter on the neighbors shot him the next morning. I can still remember the sinking feeling I had when I heard the shots.
Passed on a great public land mule deer the last weekend of the season, Not wide or heavy, but tall with over sized top forks, big inlines on the G3's and a few short cheaters. He did make the season and I spotted him again late in the year, but that was the last time I saw him and never found the antlers.
There have been plenty of others but those sting the most.

I am really hoping that the elk I passed on the last two years because the shots were boarder line legal light works in my favor this next fall.
I needed to read this. I had an epic fail this year. Not a situation where I passed him up. I thought I could archery hunt elk and then rifle hunt the buck before the rut kicked in. He decided to move before rifle season and I never found him. Found out last night that he got killed on the last day of rifle season. Heartbreak city
 

Carnage2011

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Joined
Sep 28, 2012
Messages
1,461
Location
Whitehall, MT
I have sheds off a buck from two years ago that I had never seen in person. He would have been just over 180” when I picked them up. I finally found him this year and “passed” him up (by “passed” I mean I shat down my leg and missed). So hopefully next year I can report back on that one…
 

TheTone

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Joined
Sep 14, 2002
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5,096
Location
ID
I have sheds off a buck from two years ago that I had never seen in person. He would have been just over 180” when I picked them up. I finally found him this year and “passed” him up (by “passed” I mean I shat down my leg and missed). So hopefully next year I can report back on that one…
I’ve got 7 antlers off one buck that I think I maybe saw one time. I really don’t have any explanation for how I never saw him during a season as I know he didn’t live in a big area. I also think I have his skull from after he died

I’ve been burned more times than I like to think about passing deer I was hopeful I would see in the future. Most just never seemed to show back up in the future and I’m pretty sure two of them were killed within a day or two of me passing on them
 

rogerthat

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Joined
Aug 29, 2015
Messages
1,328
The last good mule deer +175 I saw in Montana I passed up because I had shot one just like him(my biggest) the year before.(2009) I encountered him on a state section out by my parents ranch. Later that night I talked to my mom. “Boy you should have seen the buck we saw hunters dragging off the state section”😂😂.

I bet that sucker didn’t make it 2 hours after I passed him. 🤦‍♂️
 

elevatorman

Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Messages
38
Location
Virginia
95% of the bucks I pass on at my house are killed by the neighbors. Some by the neighbors at night actually….
This is what it's like around my area. Passing a buck to "let him grow" usually equals you don't get a buck and your neighbor shoots him. I still don't like shooting small deer, bucks or does, I like them to have had a chance to live a couple of years. I dont mind passing up a 4 or 6 pointer. But I'm most certainly not passing up an 8 pointer or bigger. Even if yes he could be bigger next year, because he'll probably be dead before I ever see him again. But I'm also not the guy that measures my antlers to tell folks a number either... I enjoy the time spent with friends and family and the tasty snacks that deer will be far more.
 

MTTW

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Joined
Apr 1, 2016
Messages
701
Location
Montana
I passed a pretty good buck a few years ago after thinking pretty hard about shooting it. 15 minutes later we watched him come down a very steep face and loose about 600 feet elevation right to the floor of the draw where he was promptly shot by another hunter.
When I pass a buck I pass it because I don't want it. I don't pretend that it might live another year.
 

huntin24/7

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Joined
Jul 25, 2010
Messages
1,219
Location
Eastern Montana
I’m with @MTTW. I pass animals because I don’t want to shoot them, not because I have some delusion that it’ll survive the season. Unless they’re 1/2 mile or further off the road with less than 2 hours left in the season, I pretty much assume that buck will be dead by the end of season.
 

NEWHunter

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Joined
Jul 15, 2018
Messages
1,121
Location
Brookfield, WI
So in my area of WI I have access to some marginal to average private ground. Every year for 20 years now I’ll have a solid opportunity or two at a 2.5 year old. Then they either didn’t make it to 3.5 or they’d become ghosts. In that same 20 year period I’ve had a couple opportunities at a 3.5 year old plus deer. Many years I wouldn’t even get a look at something over 2.5.

Last year I had marginal shot at what was likely a 4.5 year old buck and elected to hold off. 40C56E41-3A95-407C-AEB5-57D19BEDAB3D.jpeg
4EFB78E5-70BE-451D-8998-01034BB079AA.jpeg
He survived and showed up this year on my birthday (10/29)
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I should add that this is a suburban whitetail. He and all his friends live in about 190 acres +\- and I have access to 40 of it. There’s a fairly busy road (35 mph speed limit) that cuts the cover in half and an interstate along one side. I’d be surprised if there weren’t at least a
dozen other guys that hunt this creek bottom. The deer have access to about 35 acres of ag ground and the rest of their food is landscaping.

Passed on this guy a couple years ago and he got whacked early the next season.
D656F16D-2F17-4C98-B3F3-94967C0268E9.jpeg
 

Gerald Martin

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Jul 3, 2009
Messages
7,584
I was out in eastern Montana this fall looking to fill a couple doe tags and get a meat buck as is my annual tradition.

One evening I saw a nice young 3x4 dogging a doe with a yearling fawn. They were coming across the horizon and heading towards where I was parked on the dirt road watching from my truck. Just as I was starting to get excited thinking they might come my way, I noticed another hunter in orange down in a draw between me and the deer. They walked right past him at about fifty yards and I figured my opportunity wasn’t going to happen since he would shoot the buck. To my surprise he didn’t shoulder his rifle but just watched them walk past him.

They didn’t even know he was there and kept making their way towards me. About ten minutes later they were only about 200 yards off the road and in perfect range for me to get away from the truck, rest my rifle over a wooden fence post and fill my buck tag. The doe and fawn just stood there so I went ahead and killed them too!

Man, I love hunting MT in the rut! He wasn’t the biggest old warrior on the prairie but he’s sure gonna have some tasty neck roasts! The area I’ve been hunting over there doesn’t seem to have as many deer as it did in the past so I was sure happy to be able to get those doe tags filled at the same time.

Thank-you FWP for giving me so much opportunity!

As a side note, that other hunter did drive past as I was loading up the last of the deer in my truck. He gave me the stink-eye and looked really crabby. Don’t know what his problem was? If he wanted to kill a buck he should have shot that one when he had the chance.

Can’t wait to drive out from Bozeman and do it again next year! Although, if we could cut back on the amount of Wisconsin NR hunters that would definitely make the hunting better. I must have seen half a dozen trucks with out of state plates. We have way too many NR hunters killing our deer.

#Montanaproud
#snoozeyalosesucker
#huntingheratige
#likereallife
#Imadeallthatup
 

Mallardsx2

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Joined
Apr 4, 2015
Messages
1,587
This is what it's like around my area. Passing a buck to "let him grow" usually equals you don't get a buck and your neighbor shoots him. I still don't like shooting small deer, bucks or does, I like them to have had a chance to live a couple of years. I dont mind passing up a 4 or 6 pointer. But I'm most certainly not passing up an 8 pointer or bigger. Even if yes he could be bigger next year, because he'll probably be dead before I ever see him again. But I'm also not the guy that measures my antlers to tell folks a number either... I enjoy the time spent with friends and family and the tasty snacks that deer will be far more.

To that end, you would think that the neighbors “could only kill their limit” and be done for the season and “they can’t kill them all”.

Lol!!!!!!!

You ain’t never hunted Georgia where people seem to miraculously have an endless buck tags…..kids, wife, cousins, brothers, sisters……

If you don’t have likeminded neighbors here your in a world of trouble, and if you get a lease bordering the Mexicans you might as well start looking for a new lease if you ever want to shoot decent bucks.
 
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